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Best tech gifts for college students

Looking for some college essentials to put under the tree? Here's a list of just a few tech items sure to please the college student in your life.
December 1, 2017

College kids are coming home for the holidays, but soon they’ll be heading back to their academic adventures. You’ll want to make sure they have the best gear to help them succeed. A well equipped college kid will be able to tackle academia with confidence.

If they’re going to ultimately come home under a crushing mountain of debt, they may as well have some cool technology to help them out in the hallowed halls and even beyond.

OnePlus 5T

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From note-taking to using apps to stay organized, a smartphone is an essential college tool these days. With tons of speed and high-end features, the OnePlus 5T is perfect for college students and yet it  doesn’t cost a fortune. 

The first thing you’ll notice with the 5T is its big 6.01-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. This makes the device look more in line with other high-end 2017 devices. The end result is a phone that’s absolutely gorgeous.

The under-the-hood specs are mostly the same as the older OnePlus 5’s — including a Snapdragon 835 processor, but OnePlus decided to switch up the camera setup this time around. Now, in place of the OnePlus 5’s telephoto lens, the 5T sports a secondary 20 MP sensor that uses a fancy new technology called Intelligent Pixel Technology. Basically, it takes better low-light photos than before.

The other big change with the 5T is in regards to biometric security. Not only has the fingerprint sensor moved around to the back, you can also unlock the 5T using face recognition. It’s super fast and works perfectly 9 times out of 10.

Bottom line, the OnePlus 5T is a great phone for college student and really anyone, and even better, it’s under $500. 

Moto G5 Plus


Looking for a new phone for your college student, but perhaps want to do it on a bit of a tighter budget? The Moto G5 Plus is a great choice.

This budget phone sports a fast 2.0 GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a solid 12 MP camera that is no slouch, except perhaps in low light. Moto software is still one of our favorite mobile experiences, and the Moto G5 Plus brings that, including the double chop flashlight, and wrist twist camera gesture. Going to college can be a trying time, but the Moto G5 Plus is one of the easiest phone experiences you’ll have. Plus you get the confidence of a low price tag.


Samsung Chromebook Plus

A laptop is essential to a college student. Heck, it’s essential for most fifth graders these days. But you don’t have to break the bank getting the latest and greatest PC or Mac when a Chromebook will easily handle most tasks a college will throw at it. From a robust Google ecosystem, your student can handle word processing, spreadsheets, even slide presentations with ease. Add to that ChromeOS’s compatibility with the Android ecosystem, and this laptop is loaded for bear. 

To that end, the Samsung 12.3’ 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook Plus is a monster machine waiting to be unleashed. This chromebook sports a 2.0 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, 3and 2 GB of storage, along with a 10 hour battery life, and a pen in included. This Chromebook has everything you need to get work done in the dorm or in the classroom. And when you’re done, flip the screen around into tent mode and take in some Netflix on the 2400 x 1600 WLED Touchscreen. You will have a happy college camper.

La Cie Rugged Mini USB 3.0 / USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive LAC301558

While we’re talking about computing power, we should also talk about storage. College is the kind of place where students generate a ton of content. Writing papers won’t necessarily clog up an SSD, but anything in the field of art, audio, video, or those combined can strain even the largest hard drives. The La Cie Rugged Mini USB Portable Hard Drive offers 1 TB of extra storage space on the go.

Plus, it’s ruggedized, so it can stand up to even the most rigorous conditions. It is rated for shock protection from up to a four foot drop. It’s also available in a number of different configurations from USB 3.0 to USB Type-C. Plus, it’s offered in options up to 4TB in capacity. That’s a lot of photoshopped photos of cats.

Amazon Echo Dot

When going off to college, it’s nice to take a little part of home with you. Especially if that part of home is a personal assistant that give you access to a wealth of knowledge, products and services. Alexa gives you just that in a compact little package for a ridiculously cheap price. From looking up facts and figures, to checking the weather, to playing a little background study music, the Echo Dot is one of he most versatile gadgets you can have with you.

Plus, if the dorm room has any kind of smart technology, The Echo Dot opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Alexa’s two most underrated abilities pertain to smart controls and Alexa’s skills. Skills opens up the assistant to a much more varied skillset than other assistants like Siri or Google Assistant. When matching up dollar for dollar, the Echo dot is the king of the mini home assistants.

Fitbit Flex 2

Exercise and staying healthy is one of the biggest keys to a successful college education. It’s important to work out your body as well as your mind. The FitBit Flex 2 is one of the slimmest trackers on the market. The FitBit Flex 2 is waterproof and lifeproof. Plus, with the battery on board, you can get 3-5 days of life on a single charge.

Add to that, the tracker itself is removable from the wristband. It can be converted into a pendant to be worn which will also count steps and distance. You can swim and shower with the device with ne fear of malfunction. Plus, wear it while you sleep to track your sleep patterns. That is assuming a college kid sleeps these days. Connect the fitbit to the app to track all of your patterns over time. Keep breaking that mental sweat, but throw in a physical sweat while you’re at it.

Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 Portable Charger

Keeping devices charged while staying up long nights studying can be a challenge in and of itself. That’s why a powerbank is essential to carry with you. The Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 is a slim and attractive charger that can power a number of devices at once. It supports QucikCharge 3.0 and is backwards compatible with QuickCharge 2 and 1 as well. The powerpack is also temperature controlled to avoid overheating, and regulates power output in the event higher temperatures are detected. This keeps devices charged and safe.

Anker is one of the best names in power banks and accessories. Adding this trusted brand to a bag full of tech will ensure safe and reliable power whenever it is needed in college life.

Roku Streaming Stick

This is a binging world, and we’re all just living in it. At this point we may as well embrace it and run with it. In the world of streaming media players and set top boxes, no device offers the kind of return on investment as the Roku Streaming Stick with voice remote. For under $50, you get the power of a Roku settop box, in a streaming stick that hides in back of your TV. Add to that the voice control that comes along with the remote, and this is one of the most powerful solutions you can get.

College life is rough, and kicking back every now and then with some Stranger Things can be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to kicking back on a lazy Saturday, or cutting classes or whatever. Add to that the ability of a smart home assistant to control the Roku, and you have a recipe for perfect mornings without even getting out of bed.

Symphonized NRG 3.0 Earbuds

Getting around campus can take some time, so while strolling between buildings, cut out all the surrounding noise with the Symphonized NRG 3.0 Earbuds. These custom crafted earbuds come in three sizes – small, medium, and large – for the perfect fit and superior noise isolation. Each earbud is hand-made from natural wood for a bold design that stands out above the rest.

The in line remote allows you to control volume from the device, making it easy to adjust the sound. Speaking of sound, these earbuds offer the best acoustics with a deep bass. You will enjoy your tunes with these earphones. Add to that a convenient carrying pouch for the buds while they’re not in use, and you have the full package, sure to keep college life sounding great.

Case Logic DLBP-114 14-Inch Laptop Backpack

When it comes to toting around your gear, you need something that’s roomy, but not too bulky, and comfortable. You also want something that is properly compartmented to carry everything the way it needs to be carried. The Case Logic DLBP-114 14-Inch laptop Backpack can comfortably carry laptops up to 14.1 inches in a separate secure pouch. Along with that, you can carry your books and papers neatly in the main storage compartment. Plus there are pockets designed to carry sunglasses, cables, keys, and everything you need to keep your devices going.

This is all done with a sleek and stylish look. Quilted padding makes the shoulder straps comfortable, and a strap management system keeps excess strap material rolled out and out of the way. Side pouches are perfect for carrying along your smartphone while still having easy access. This is the backpack your college student should be toting from class to class.

Blue Yeti Microphone

Lectures are an important part of classes. But, they also tend to be boring, allowing you mind to drift, just a bit. That’s why an audio record of what was said can make or break a semester. The Blue Yeti microphone is large, make no mistake. There is nothing subtle about the microphone. But it can also hear a mouse fart from three blocks away, making it ideal to record lectures in large conference halls, or small classrooms.

Plus, it’s the microphone of choice for most beginning podcasters. What better way to kill time between classes than with a local school podcast? Podcasting can be a fun way to reach out and participate in a community, without all that messiness of actually having to talk to people. The Blue Yeti microphone is a high quality mic that can accomplish a lot of tasks, so it makes a great gift for a person going to college – where anything can happen.

And that’s it for our best gifts for college students roundup. Any other suggestions? Let us know down in the comments.